Ten Cars Ahead Of Their Time

When car designers attempt to be futurists they typically come up with fascinating vehicles both revered for and, often, burdened by, their own advancement. With your help we've identified ten cars ahead of their time.


This is Answers of the Day - where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's "Question Of The Day". It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers.

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Photo Credit: Bort1974


10.) 1961/62 Buick Skylark

Suggested by: hxgaser

Futuristic Features: The Buick Special was both one of the first cars to use an alumina V8 and then, a year after its re-introduction, the first American car to use a V6 in large numbers. It's compact dimensions also previewed a more compact mid-size sedan that would become the staple of American motorists.


9.) 1960s Alfa Romeo Guilia Super

Suggested by: Cogito Ergo ZOOM

Futuristic Features: Someone at Alfa had a great idea: let's take the potent dual overhead cam engine from our racing car and toss it in our tiny compact sedan. And thus, the Alfa Guilia Super roadgoing sedan was born. Featuring disc brakes all around and a stiffer suspension, it was the 190E before there was a 190E 2.3 16 and brought spirited motoring to an entire new class of drivers.

8.) 1983 AMC Eagle

Suggested by: Punk-Is-Dead

Futuristic Features: A compact station wagon/coupe with four-wheel drive? Are you crazy? How will that ever work? Fast forward 25 years and it's Subaru's bread-and-butter. The car was arguably too far ahead of its time.


7.) Tucker Torpedo

Suggested by: Marnold1294

Futuristic Features: An obvious answer, but an important one, because the Tucker 48/Torpedo's infamous for being a car so futuristic it was killed (and killed itself). From the mid-mounted seat to the moving cyclops eye, the car was wonderfully ahead of its time. It even had radio controls clustered around the steering wheel, previewing a move towards safer/more accessible controls. The car was also designed, much like the modern Prius, to have as low a coefficient of drag as possible. It's loss is a true tragedy.


6.) Lohner Porsche Hybrid

Suggested by: AceGT

Futuristic Features: Before the Volt or the Prius, before the 356 and the 911, Ferdinand Porsche built a hybrid car. It was 1901. The car started out as an electric model in 1899 he'd successfully sell and race but, desiring longer range, he added a range-extending generator. Hmm... sounds familiar.


5.) Audi Quattro

Suggested by: Many, Many People

Futuristic Features: As explained in the Vorsprung Durch Badass post, the Quattro's longitudinal center diff is mated to a the transmission in such a way it's basically one unit. The packaging is enormously cool, and combined with a turbocharged engine the car became a rally legend and relaunched a brand.


4.) 1999 Honda Insight

Suggested by: Thomboy

Futuristic Features: Honda led the modern hybrid evolution in America, but no one knows it because they abandoned their trailblazing Insight and let Toyota sweep in with the Prius. The original insight sported a small gas engine and electric motors, just like modern hybrids (albeit without the dual-use synergy drive in the Toyota). It was aerodynamic and small and built for two. Honda's back again with a new Insight, proving they were right ten years ago.


3.) 2001 Pontiac Aztec

Suggested by: SnapUndersteer

Futuristic Features: Like Stephen Hawking, the Pontiac Aztec's a lot of great ideas packaged in a less than appealing exterior. One of the original crossovers, the Aztec featured a Jet-like heads-up display, NASA designer-designed dashboard, a cooler mounted inside the rear gate (which also doubled as a picnic table), rear-mounted audio controls for parties. Almost all of the features offered on the Aztec were later offered on more attractive, more successful vehicles.


2.) Nash Rambler

Suggested by: StephDumas

Futuristic Features: A compact car? A compact car? What's the point of having an efficient vehicle small enough to drive in the cities and park easily? This car was so far ahead of its time Americans didn't have a car that was truly worthy of its legacy until the Ford Fiesta... built by Europeans. You could make the same argument for the Mini, but it's not quite as strange.

1.) 1972 Lancia Stratos

Suggested by: Everyone

Futuristic Features: Mid-engined, RWD, shaped like a wedge. It is the modern supercar before there was a modern supercar. It's so advanced their building a new one based on the same principles almost 40 years later.

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